Friday, March 4, 2011

The Vor Game (Book)

“It’s going to get real crazy soon.”
“With Mad Miles back in charge, how could it be otherwise?”

Miles in all his glory. A fun adventure. The Vor Game by Lois McMaster Bujold is the winner of the 1991 Hugo Award for best novel and the fifth book (internal chronology) in the Vorkosigan Saga. In the novel, we see Miles in multiple roles: Ensign Vorkosigan, Admiral Naismith leader of the Dendarii Mercenaries, Victor Rotha arms dealer, childhood friend of Emperor Gregor, son of Count Vorkosigan, and loyal Lord Vorkosigan. As always, Miles isn’t so good at following orders but is excellent at fulfilling the mission.

Briefly, after graduating from the military academy Miles is sent as a weatherman to a remote Arctic camp with the hopes that he will cool his heels and learn to follow orders. Alas, when his superior is in the process of committing a criminal act, Miles intervenes and has yet another mark of insubordination added to his record. Later, he has more opportunities to disobey orders when he is sent out as part of a military fact finding mission. While dodging trouble, he encounters Emperor Gregor, who after a half hearted suicide attempt decides to run away from home. Using his natural ability to improvise and all available resources, including the Dendarii Mercenaries, Miles works to save Gregor and prevent a major war.

While for the most part The Vor Game is a fun adventure, it has a few touching moments. Bujold weaves Miles disability into the story. We come face to face with the affects of war. We also learn why Gregor wanted to jump off the balcony to end his life. Sometimes Miles is a crazy, hyper young man, but sometimes he is truly admirable as a human being.  Now I understand why other readers like the Vorkosigan series so much.

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